We spent the day at the atolls of Toau and Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago, located to the northeast of Tahiti. A few storm cells rolled through early in the day but cleared quickly. National Geographic Orion’s first snorkel operation in over two years took place without a hitch. Guests enjoyed the wide diversity of colorful undersea life and corals. In the afternoon, we had a few hours to explore the village of Rotoava on Fakarava by foot and on bike. Rotoava is one of the largest and most beautiful atolls in French Polynesia.
National Geographic Resolution
Tahanea Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
Entering the pass of an atoll in French Polynesia is always a beautiful way to start the day. This morning we arrived at Tahanea, a small island with no permanent population. The water here is some of the clearest our staff have ever seen in this region. With winds and currents to contend with, our divers found a beautiful site to spend some time underwater. They enjoyed a healthy coral reef, some sharks, and large fish. On their way back to the ship they even found some manta rays and jumped in the water to snorkel with them. The rest of us split into two groups: the hikers and the swimmers. The hike ashore was full of birds and plants to observe and photograph. The swimmers launched from the snorkel platform into crystal water where they poked around the coral heads and grew even more comfortable swimming with reef sharks. We had an afternoon aboard. We began with a presentation by our guest speaker Tom Ritchie about the most useful plants in Polynesia. At tea time, the hotel team put out 13 different sweet treats, not to mention the sandwiches and fruit. Before recap, undersea specialist James Hyde gave us a condensed history of the natural world—starting with the big bang! Tomorrow will be a busy day for us as we transit to some islands we have never visited before. So it’s quiet on board this evening as we all head to bed to rest up for whatever tomorrow has in store.